Please consult your physician before starting this or any weight loss or exercise program. Your doctor knows your health best and will be able to tell you whether this program is for you.
In over twenty years of practice, I have helped many people develop a healthier lifestyle. I have also seen many try, only to fail. The difference in those that succeeded and those that failed always boiled down to the same thing: honesty. Those that succeeded were very honest with themselves with regard to the habits they practiced that made their lifestyle unhealthy, as well as the reasons why they wanted to change.
There are four pillars that will support a healthy lifestyle: decent diet (realistic, not perfect), a proper mindset, quality supplements, and moderate exercise. Can you lose weight by changing only one or two of these things? Yes, however, it won’t happen as fast and won’t be as likely to be a permanent change.
One myth that I would like to put to rest right away is that losing weight always makes you healthier. This is simply not true. In the past, people used amphetamines (speed) pills to lose weight and indeed they dropped the pounds quickly. However, the damage that was done to their heart, liver and other organs was catastrophic to their health. Healthy weight loss does happen at a slower rate, however, it also has a much greater chance of being the lasting change that you have been dreaming about.
As strong as the subconscious mind is, it is also very easily fooled. You can use this to your advantage in changing the way you perceive yourself. This is essential to creating a healthier you. If you see yourself as an over-weight person who doesn’t exercise and has poor eating habits, you will return to that, even if you change temporarily. It is so common to see someone get into better shape, only to regress back to being more unhealthy than they were to begin with. You have the power to encourage your mind to work alongside your body in this process. Think of your self-image (which lives in your subconscious mind) as a rubber band. You may change the shape of that rubber band, however, as soon as you take the force off of it, it will go back to the shape it was at rest. When we change the image you have of yourself to a healthier one, your subconscious will constantly be working behind the scenes to get you to that healthier state. You can do this! It's time we convince your mind of that. Although it may sound intimidating, you are entirely capable of achieving your goals. It just takes one important thing: persistence.
First, be honest with yourself and write down the reasons why you want to lose weight and be healthier. Make sure that these are the most important reasons to you. It can be anything that resonates with you personally, like you want to lose weight to see your children get married or to fit in a certain bathing suit. Again, what is important to YOU.
Then, we'll take the reasons to be more healthy that you listed and we change them around a little. For example, we change “ I would like to be healthier so I could play with my children” to “I am glad I eat healthy and exercise because now I can enjoy playing with my children”. All you do is make the statement present tense and add “I am glad I eat healthy and exercise because…”. These must be things that are important to you. Remember, health is the great equalizer. Even the richest individuals, if unhealthy, can still be prisoners of a hospital bed.
You should have 5-8 statements/reasons. Put these everywhere: on your computer, phone screens, bathroom mirror, desk, refrigerator and anywhere else you can. Read them aloud as many times as you can during the day. The most important times are first thing in the morning, starting your day out positively, and last thing at night. The more you read them, the more your subconscious mind will take them as fact. The self-image that you have established of yourself in your subconscious is the largest obstacle you have to overcome in order to make changes in your life. The great thing is that once you have changed your-self image to that of a healthy person, your subconscious will be constantly working to keep you healthy, even in your weak moments. Please don’t discount the value of this portion of the program. Even if it sounds a little strange, just do it for a month or two and test it out. If it works, great, keep it up. If it doesn’t at least you can continue with the other parts of the program. . This same strategy will work with any goal you want to achieve! Again, you ARE capable of achieving the goals you have set for yourself and your body. Let's do this.
In order to achieve the goal of a healthier lifestyle, we must change our eating habits. One thing that is important to remember is “healthy eating habits" not “perfect eating habits”. Trying to hold yourself to some very strict, narrow diet is not realistic. Instead, we want to create certain intentional habit changes and list kinds of foods to stay away from on a regular basis.
Simply put, the more sugars or simple starches you eat, the more insulin you produce. Insulin is a hormone that works to transfer glucose (sugar) into cells to store the energy from the sugar as fat. Insulin is released by your body when you ingest foods that contain sugar. In the days when famines were a regular occurrence, these stores of fat were used by the body for survival. Eating foods that have high concentrations of sugar turns on the switch that causes your body to store fat. Therefore, the less sugar and simple starch you consume, the easier it becomes to get to a healthy weight.
Here a few things you should do as soon as possible when setting dieting goals for weight loss:
*Note: before starting any exercise plan, please contact your physician prior to beginning.
Not to worry! Let's make it clear that we don’t expect everyone to be a marathon runner, or even a runner at all. Exercise is always better if it is something you enjoy. Having at least one workout/ accountability partner makes the time more enjoyable and can help you stick to your schedule.
The basic rule is that you want to be increasing your heart rate for at least 45 minutes, 5 days per week. You can walk around the neighborhood, park, or at home on a treadmill; whatever fits your situation.
You may be one that has always dreamed of running. If so, do it! You may start taking your children or dog on a walk each day. Swimming or just wading around in a pool is great for those with joint problems. Whatever you choose, try to vary it as much as possible to keep it from getting monotonous. It will be difficult at first, but will become easier as you stick with it.
I had a patient that was more than 100 pounds overweight in his early forties. He decided one day to walk around his house which really tired him out. He slowly worked up to walking 5 times around his house. He was persistent over the years and now more than twenty years later, has run over 15 marathons and still runs over 5 miles per day in his late sixties.
We all don’t have to get to the point that we run marathons, but if we want to be healthy, incorporating our own routine exercise is essential to success.